Petrol filling station – for Asda Supermarket, Greenfield Lane, Shaw, – appeal again refusal has now been granted

The Planning Inspector has just published his decision (see link below) to grant the above filling station.  This is despite representations by local residents, local Councillors, and Oldham Council.

Below is the decision in full:

ASDA Appeal Decision – 3195812

Despite the application initially being refused by the Oldham Council Planning Committee due to the disturbance this development will cause to residents who live directly opposite, the recommendation by Council Highways Officers of  the potentially dangerous effect this development  would have on Shaw’s road system, and the loss of recycling facilities which Asda made no provision for, the Inspector has decided to allow the appeal, but has strengthened and enhanced the planning  conditions proposed  including timing and junction alterations as well as maintaining the provision of a  recycling facility.

Having spoken to local residents to inform them of the news, they are bitterly disappointed and believe that this development will undoubtedly affect their quality of life being only some 13 metres away from their homes.

The communities of Shaw and Crompton were always divided on this application, whereas some welcomed the likelihood of cheaper fuel, others recognised the detrimental effect to the neighbours and road system, as well as increased congestion at peak times.

Although Liberal Democrat Shaw Ward councillors  are disappointed at the outcome of the appeal, they are pleased that the Inspector has retained and increased the planning conditions imposed upon Asda before the development can begin.

My two allowed questions at tonight’s Oldham Council meeting – 12 December 2018 – Who decides on the GMSF Plan and Coping with Brexit

Q1 Oldham Council Leaders Questions – Who decides on the GMSF Plan?

Mr Mayor, my first question to the Leader tonight returns to a subject that I asked him about in September – who will be responsible for taking the decision in this Council whether to adopt the final proposals for the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

I make no apology for asking this question again as circumstances seem to have changed on this issue since we last spoke in this Chamber about it.

On 1 October 2018, the Mayor of Greater Manchester and the ten Council leaders who are the Greater Manchester Combined Authority issued a media release which stated categorically that:

Leaders also commit to ensuring that the formal draft plan is put before each Council to ensure real democratic debate and scrutiny.

The draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework must be approved by each and every local council next summer.

 The Mayor and Leaders have today made clear that regardless of the requirements, they are committed to ensuring that the formal draft Plan is put before each Council to ensure real democratic engagement, debate and scrutiny.

 Local ward councillors will have their say on this plan

 Throughout this process we have always committed to taking the GMSF through local councils.

On 30 November 2018, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority issued a further statement which stated categorically that:

  “Before we go out to consultation for a second time (in the summer of 2019) the revised Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will be taken to all the local authorities and councils within the city-region for discussion, debate and ultimately sign-off.”

As I read these two statements, they would appear to imply that all Greater Manchester local authority leaders, including yourself, have agreed to bring the draft GMSF plan before a full meeting of their local Council for scrutiny and debate and for ward members to vote on whether their local Council chooses to adopt the plan?

This appears to be a contrary position to the one that you outlined in your response to my question on the matter at the September meeting of full Council.  Here you indicated that you as Leader would make the final decision.

Please can I ask the Leader of the Council to clarify the current position as he sees it?

Q2 Oldham Council Leaders Questions – Coping with Brexit

Mr Mayor, for my second question to the Leader tonight I would like to turn to Brexit, more specifically the serious threat a No-Deal Brexit will pose.

The last Council presented a report which stated that: “It is looking increasingly likely that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is the most likely outcome…”

This would result in a downturn in economic productivity and growth in our region as the EU accounts for almost sixty percent of our export market.

The cost of imported raw materials and components are already increasing, in part because of the falling value of the pound.  This will also impact on employment and on wage rates which will be devastating as Oldham working families are already amongst the poorest in the UK.

But this is NOT the worst of it.  Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab admitted the Government was preparing to stockpile food.

Health Secretary Matthew Hancock admitted discussions on building up NHS reserves of vaccinations, blood products and medical supplies had been held.

But it is impossible to stockpile advance supplies of fresh food, as by their nature they are perishable, and many patients rely of medicines with a short shelf-life.

Essentials will therefore have to be flown into the UK at great expense, while stuff rots at our ports which become gigantic truck parks with no drivers to drive them!

I say flown, but this is of course assumes that the Government can obtain the necessary export permits, complete the necessary new bureaucracy and obtain the flight-certified aircraft to do the job.

Frankly this sounds like a scenario akin to the Berlin Airlift of 1948 rather than Great Britain in 2018.

Seventy years ago, the Western allies had to overcome the Communist Soviet military blockade of that city to prevail.

Here common-sense has yet to prevail against the bigotry, narrow-mindedness of Little Englanders and the swivel eyed loons determined to break faith with our European neighbours.

Mr Mayor, this is frightening stuff, made more so in a borough where we already have so many poor citizens reliant on emergency Food Bank supplies, a great many with chronic and long-term health conditions.

I am sorry to say that this is not the script of a post-Apocalyptic movie this is just weeks away.

The people in charge of this mess and our country; in the middle of the most important constitutional change since Henry 8 or Oliver Cromwell; now decide to have a leadership contest and oust the Prime Minister!

They have done more to damage our reputation in the world; and the Union that is the United Kingdom; at a single stroke than any event in modern history!

Words fail me.

Firstly please could the leader tell us what is being done by this Council, in conjunction with our partners in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, to plan measures to mitigate for a possible No-deal Brexit?

Secondly would he be willing to join with me in sending a joint letter to the three Members of Parliament who represent our Borough asking them to support a second people’s referendum, with the option on the ballot paper to remain in the European Union and retain the many benefits accruing from membership, before any move by this Government to take our nation over the abyss into Brexit?

Liberal Democrat Plan to make Oldham Town and all District Centres Safer at Night

Liberal Democrat Councillors Hazel Gloster and Howard Sykes MBE will be proposing a motion at the next full meeting of Oldham Council (Wednesday 12 December) calling for the establishment of Safe Zones and for the ‘Ask Angela’ scheme to be adopted to help make Oldham town and district centres in the borough safer for night-time revellers.

Commenting Councillor Gloster said: “When the Liberal Democrats were in power, we tackled the anti-social issues that resulted from problem drinking in Oldham town centre, issues that attracted lots of unwanted media attention with Yorkshire Street being dubbed ‘the  Wild West’ and I am pleased to say that things are now a lot quieter.  However, people do sometimes have too much to drink or they can feel threatened late at night, and we should take action to ensure that young people and vulnerable people who get into difficulty are able to find help when they need it.”

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a Student Safe Spot / Zone scheme and an ‘Ask Angela’ scheme to be established in Oldham and in other district centres across the borough, as they are in other places with student populations such as Bradford and Manchester.

Councillor Gloster added: “Although ours is not a big university town, we do have the Oldham Sixth Form College, the Oldham College and University Campus Oldham in our town centre.  Safe Spots are designated venues where staff offer support to students who feel unwell or unsafe late at night by phoning for a taxi, a friend or the emergency services. These venues display a prominent sticker in their window and new students receive information about the scheme as part of their induction. In Bradford, there is also an arrangement with a local taxi firm to transport students home who find themselves without money, with the bill later being settled via the university authorities.”

“The Ask Angela scheme is operated nationwide in many pubs and clubs. Like Student Safe Spots, staff will swing into action to help when someone who feels vulnerable or threatened ‘asks for Angela’ at the bar. This scheme is primarily, though not exclusively, aimed at lone women, who may for instance meet someone new for a date and find they feel increasingly uncomfortable or unsafe and want to leave discreetly. Premises promoting the scheme display posters, which are usually placed in the toilets of those establishments to be discreet.”

Councillor Gloster concluded: “These ideas are common-sense suggestions that will help people feel safer when they go out for a drink or a meal in the evening. They complement other excellent initiatives, such as the Street Angels scheme. The Liberal Democrats would like to see the Council work with the licensed trade, the Police and our social partners to introduce these measures in our town centre and in our district centres, for example in Shaw, and I do hope that Council will support them.”

Improving Public Safety in Oldham’s Night time Economy

Council notes that:

  • In Bradford and Manchester local businesses and community groups have joined with local colleges and universities to establish Student Safe Spots / Zones; these are premises self-identifying as havens for students who are being followed, or are feeling vulnerable or unwell.

Staff at these venues offer assistance in booking taxis home; in contacting the emergency services if their assistance is required; or offer a temporary safe haven until a problem has passed. Venues signed up to the scheme receive a sticker to place prominently to advertise their involvement and a list and map of venues is published on line for students to access.

  • In Bradford, there also exists an agreement with local taxi businesses that students without money but presenting with a valid student ID badge will be offered carriage and the bill is then sent to the student for payment, via the relevant college and university authorities.
  • The ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme is operated nationwide in many pubs and clubs.

If a member of the public who feels vulnerable or threatened ‘Asks for Angela’ of the on-premises staff they know to take that person to a safer location and offer them assistance, such as calling a taxi, contacting friends or in certain circumstances ringing the police. Premises promoting the scheme display posters, which are usually placed in the toilets of those establishments to be discreet.

Council believes that establishing such schemes in our borough would help safeguard vulnerable people in our Borough, especially students and women enjoying our night time economy, and would complement the excellent work being done by the Oldham Street Angels.

Council therefore resolves to ask the Overview and Scrutiny Board to examine in conjunction with relevant partners, including the Oldham College, Oldham Sixth Form College, University Campus Oldham, schools with post-16 provision, licensed premises and public and private hire taxi businesses, the practicality of establishing such schemes as soon as possible in our town and district centres.

Proposed Councillor Hazel Gloster, Seconded Councillor Howard Sykes